New Online Student Bookstore Plans $10 Million Campaign

Elmhurst, IL-based Follett Corp.’s Higher Education Group said it plans a $10 million ad campaign to support the just-launched efollett.com, an online college bookstore that offers students “the ease of online shopping with the convenience of on- campus service.”

The site is designed to serve as an e-commerce “portal” for campus bookstores nationwide, providing up-to-date booklists for more than 450 academic institutions and all of the required course materials, including 110,000 textbook titles and campus-specific course packs and value packs.

Free in-store pick-up of textbooks or shipment to any destination are offered. The site goes live Jan. 4 and will compete with VarsityBooks.com, which recently redesigned its Web site and launched its own multi-million dollar marketing campaign.

The ad campaign begins Jan. 4 with two 30-second spots that will air nationally during the Fiesta Bowl. In addition, full-page ads will break on Jan. 8 in USA Today. The efollett.com ad campaign encourages college students to “Get out of line.”

The national ad campaign will be supplemented by print ads and radio and television spots in Chicago, Washington, DC, San Francisco and four Florida markets: Jacksonville, Gainesville, Miami/Fort Lauderdale and Tallahassee.

efollett.com will initially serve the 450 academic institutions for which Follett College Stores Corp. manages the campus bookstore. Follett said it would have all 585 stores it operates online by the end of February. Follett also expects to add more than 500 independent campus bookstores as efollett.com partners by the fall.

“Our e-commerce strategy involves forming partnerships with campus bookstores across the country to enable efollett.com to deliver the right course materials at the right time to students,” said James W. Baumann, president of Follett’s Higher Education Group.

Through its partnerships with local campus bookstores, efollett.com offers students the choice of either picking their textbooks up at the local bookstore or having their textbooks shipped to them. The shipping fee is $3.95 for the first book and 95 cents for each additional book.

Follett is a billion-dollar company that has provided products and services to the educational marketplace for 125 years.

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